On April 1, the PCORI Board of Governors approved up to $50 million to fund a healthcare workers registry and rapid-turnaround clinical trial
of whether hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) can prevent healthcare workers at high risk of contracting COVID-19 from becoming infected and unintentionally spreading the virus to others.
A team from the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) will lead this initiative, known as the Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes (HERO) program. To speed this effort, DCRI researchers will leverage PCORnet®, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, the PCORI-funded national resource that taps into rich sources of real-world data to facilitate health research and quick and efficient sharing of information.
Plans call for the registry recruitment process to start in early April, with the study, known as the HERO-HCQ trial and involving about 40 PCORnet-associated sites across the United States, expected to begin later in the month.
In addition to the funding for the HERO initiative, the Board committed up to $30 million to fund other new COVID-19 research studies, as well as engagement and dissemination and implementation projects. PCORI staff already are working to identify proposed topics relating to the COVID-19 response that may be well-suited for large studies and other projects. Other topics are likely to come from key healthcare stakeholders involved in the country’s response.
A total of up to $20 million will go toward funding award increases for research and other projects related to the response. It will also address appropriate changes caused by the COVID-19 emergency. For instance, some researchers may revise their plans by adding coronavirus aims to their studies or switching to virtual environments.
Existing programs and resources also will play a role. The Board approved up to $10 million for an existing fund earmarked for small, rapid-response projects.
These new funding projects will be announced on the Research Services Blog page when they are announced.